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Suicide Prevention Month – A 17-Part Series to Support Families, Communities and Educators

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September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Arkansas PBS is proud to support families, educators and communities with a unique set of resources for navigating this difficult topic.

Several months of making our ways through a new world with COVID-19 have left both adults and children feeling confused, overwhelmed, sad and anxious. In a series of digital shorts, Shawna Burns – licensed professional counselor and founder of Seed Digging Wellness Center in Harrison, Arkansas – will share ways to manage hard times in life, overcome anxiety and learn to let the mind rest.

“Suicide Prevention – Looking Deeper” was originally created for educators by ArkansasIDEAS, a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas PBS for teacher professional development, and it is now available as a public resource for the first time. Since its launch in June 2019, nearly 20,000 Arkansas educators have completed the course, calling it excellent and something anyone who deals with children should watch.

Just as humans have physical needs that must be met for survival – such as food, water and oxygen – the human mind must have seven innate needs met in order to survive, as well,” Burns said. “When a person does not get these needs met to the point of helplessness, some really unhealthy behaviors can occur, such as hurting oneself or others.

Warning Signs and Seeds of Trauma

According to the Jason Foundation, four out of five teens display warning signs before they attempt suicide. In most cases, however, the seeds of trauma that brought them to that place were planted much earlier. In this 17-part digital series, broken down by topic, Burns shares personal stories and case studies that show the connections between those seeds, student behaviors, and the innate needs within all people. Burns also discusses the importance of recognizing suicide warning signs, being aware of risk factors and having a plan for prevention.

This information is helpful to parents, and it also includes classroom strategies for creating a safe and secure environment for students that speaks to the innate needs that are so often at the root of suicide.

Additional Content

Additional information and support resources, including a series of digital shorts, are available at myarkansaspbs.org/suicideprevention. A free set of resources is available, while supplies last, by emailing info@myarkansaspbs.org. “Suicide Prevention – Looking Deeper” is available as a free professional development course for Arkansas educators at ideas.myarkansaspbs.org.

Need help now?

Anyone in crisis should call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.